Saturday, July 7, 2012

No. 9 The Milk of Sorrow (2009)

La Teta Asustada (2009)

" To speak about experiences associated with extreme violence, the sexual violence, it is not an easy thing. Suffering and fear, lived silently, with shame, “as if it was a fault of one”. It creates a fingerprint that generates other pains associated with the fact of being a woman in a context of arbitrariness and mistreatment. I share the idea that the task of opening spaces, to think, is the only way of facilitating the dialogue on a topic that brings so much pain, and this film was conceived as a search of healing."  Claudia Llosa interview in Filmmaker  

La Teta Asustada, directed by Claudia Llosa is set in the outskirts of Lima, Peru.  The film infuses magical realism with conventional narrative, to tell the story of Fausta (Magaly Solier), a young woman from Huanta who has lost her mother.  The film begins with her mother singing about the rape and killings in the Quechua language.  After her death Fausta must live with her uncle and his family and earn money so that she can bury her mother. Fausta suffers from a rare disease passed down from the breast milk of her mother.  The disease is passed on by women who have been raped or abused.  A physical manifestation of transgenerational trauma.  

In the film, Fausta goes to work for a wealthy woman.  She is tricked into singing for the woman, who composes and performs the piano.  Music plays an integral part to the film.  

Between 1980 to 200, Peru was in a state of conflict with groups including the Shining Path, state forces and the MRTA committing crimes including forced disappearances, torture, kidnappings and rape.  According to the UNIFEM report on transitional justice by Julissa Mantilla Flacon with regards to sexual violence 'Impunity surrounded these cases and the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission found no evidence of criminal prosecutions against perpetrators of sexual abuses.  Moreover, men rarely allows their wives or daughters to report the sexual violence'.  

The film is therefore an  important tool in  'opening dialogues' on sexual violence in Peru.  A memorable film.

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